Sheffield Forgemasters will now have a chance to help with the building of Britain’s new nuclear power station, it has been announced.
The steel firm will have the opportunity to be part of the supply chain for the Hinkley Point C power station in Somerset following a political row about the use of foreign firms.
French and Japanese companies have been signed up to carry out the ultra-large forging work on the plant, leading to criticism of the lack of British firms involved in the project.
But EDF, the French energy giant behind the plant, has now said firms such as Forgemasters should be able to bid for some of the sub-contracted work on other parts of the scheme – provided they can meet the necessary regulatory standards.
A spokesman for the company said: “Hinkley Point C is a big opportunity for UK steel, as well as for UK construction and manufacturing more widely.
“EDF Energy will help steel producers in the UK understand the requirements needed for nuclear construction to achieve the necessary certification.
“There will be opportunities for UK steel producers, including Sheffield Forgemasters, to become part of the Hinkley Point C supply chain as procurement moves forward after our Final Investment Decision.
“The project has a large and varied demand for steel.
“This includes around 200,000 tonnes of reinforcement in the concrete structures, over 600,000 embedment plates, large quantities of structural steelwork for the construction of the turbine halls and other structures, steel containment liners to the two reactor buildings, stainless steel liners to fuel ponds and a thousand kilometres of steel pipework. It is our expectation that a large proportion of this requirement will come from UK companies, subject to a competitive process.”
The news follows a row between the Government and Forgemasters after industry minister Anna Soubry said British firms did not have the capacity to carry out work awarded to foreign firms.
Earlier this month, a joint statement by the company and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: “It is right that Sheffield Forgemasters and others cannot produce what Ms Soubry described as ‘ultra-large’ forgings.
“Sheffield Forgemasters, however, can produce 80 per cent of forgings for projects like Hinkley Point C.”